• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Monday, 13 July 2015

Here is How The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve Is Saving The Klein Karoo

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People come from all over the world to visit the Klein Karoo. Its wide landscapes, solitude and the spiritual calm of the mountainous, dry landscape is a hugely valuable commodity.

The vegetation of the Klein Karoo, and the adjacent coastal plain, includes 4 500 species of plants that occur nowhere else on Earth, over 70% of which has been damaged and needs protection.

To acquire recognition as a hotspot a region must have at least 1 500 species of endemic plants under threat. The Klein Karoo has three internationally recognised biodiversity hotspots– Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Valley Thicket. Continued

Thursday, 9 July 2015

10 Oddities that make the Northern Cape such a gem

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The Northern Cape is a vast province. It occupies a chunk of South Africa’s north western territory, curving around the southern projection of Namibia, sharing parts of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with Botswana, and bordering on the Eastern Cape’s Venterstad, and the Free State’s Christiana.

People head to the Northern Cape to disappear. It isn’t difficult given the countless little towns about which nobody has heard – Melkboom, Breeshoek, Aggeneys, Rooiputs and Hotazel are just a few of them. Continued

Monday, 6 July 2015

SA-Venues.com’s top 15 best value stays for 2015

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Staying somewhere amazing is not just for the well-heeled. There are plenty of places filled with character around South Africa that offer comfort and charm in equal dollops – all of them for under R300 per person per night.

We’ve trawled our listings to uncover those venues where character and low-cost meet to find 15 wallet-friendly, quality guest houses, cottages and camp sites for 2015.

SA-Venues.com’s top 15 best value stays for 2015… Continued

Friday, 3 July 2015

10 of the Karoo’s most historically iconic towns

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The Karoo conjures up a vista of wide open spaces, dusty back roads, historical churches and the endless overhead dome of the sky. It is South Africa’s heart, occupying huge tracts of the country’s inner, and more arid, land; often described as unforgiving.

Once simply a vast area through which to travel en route somewhere else, today the Karoo is a series of little historic towns and various geological and botanical anomalies that attract visitors in their own right.

It is difficult to find a Karoo town that does not boast something of historical note. Our third in a series on the Karoo towns of South Africa, brings you 10 of the Karoo’s most historically iconic townsContinued

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dinosaurs amongst the cycads at Kirstenbosch – 10 things you’ll see at Kirstenbosch right now

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It’s a clever idea, putting life-size dinosaurs in amongst near-extinct cycads at Kirstenbosch. Not only does it give you a very real idea of just how large, or small, the dinosaurs actually were by standing next to them but you get a real appreciation for the critically endangered cycads that were part of the dinosaurs’ landscape, at the same time.

On since early June 2015 the open-air art exhibition, known simply as ‘Extinction! Dinosaurs, and Cycads?’, features David Huni’s anatomically correct tin dinosaur and pterosaur sculptures. The dinosaurs and the cycads would have co-habited in a similar way some 65 million years ago.

Dinosaurs and 75% of life on earth died, presumably as a result of a massive asteroid or comet that struck earth leaving environmental havoc in its wake, whilst the cycads survived. This fact alone sharply emphasises their endangered status today.

You can see the dinosaurs from the air up on the Boomslang walkway, from where they appear anything but intimidating. Once down in amongst the cycad amphitheatre (just above The Dell and Lady Barnard’s Pool), however, their true size and the almost life-like tin medium combine to bring these massive beasts alive in the imaginations of both young and old… Continued

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Discovering the Spitskop Viewpoint outside Knysna

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The Garden Route is full of gems – some are well known and frequented by tourists (such as the Bloukrans Bridge, Knysna Heads, and the Tsitsikamma), while others are secreted away for only the avid explorer to enjoy. Spitskop is one of the latter. It is part of the Ysternek Nature Reserve, which is a forest reserve that covers almost 12 square kilometres and showcases some of the most stunning scenery in the country… Continued

Monday, 22 June 2015

Snow porn: South Africa’s top 7 places for snow this winter

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It is true that South Africa is not a snow destination. If it’s snow you’re after then you usually head to Alaska, Canada, Switzerland, the Northern Rockies, the mountains of France, Austria and Italy, America’s Colorado, Japan, and even New Zealand. Not South Africa.

Yet South Africa is not without snow. And when it does fall in the high-lying inland regions of the country we behave as if we’ve won the jackpot; we’re so excited by the prospect of snow that we have a Facebook page devoted to the subject snowreportsa, and we circulate pictures of snow as if we cannot quite believe our luck – ‘Snow!!! Brrrr, it is SO cold’.

Our only ski slope, Tiffendell is hardly Aspen or Montana. In South Africa you count yourself incredibly fortunate to see snow fall at all or to walk and play in it for the couple of hours it remains on the ground. So when it does fall, we travel miles to see it.

So you would travel to South Africa to see the snow because the beauty of our landscapes give the snow a backdrop that is hard to beat. And these are 7 of the best places in the country to see snow this winter… Continued

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

15 top Johannesburg Instagrammers to follow

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Ansel Adams, the photographer and environmentalist whose black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West are highly regarded, once said, ‘A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.’

Even more beautiful are the words of Yann Arthus-Bertrand who said, ‘The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness.’

Whilst Cape Town’s instagrammers capture the beauty of the landscape – mountains, seas, skies; Johannesburg Instagrammers are having a love affair with the inner city; the grunge of Jozi’s Maboneng, Braamfontein, and Berea. Their pictures, like their city, are intense, introspective, frank and bold.

Here are 15 artists on Instagram that paint a picture of Johannesburg that cannot be contained in words… Continued

Friday, 12 June 2015

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

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Ever noticed how popular Cape Town is? You just have to look at how many Gautengers have moved here, or the many Europeans, for that matter, to realise that Cape Town really is the happening capital of South Africa.

But because it is popular, it’s also a place many people come to visit. And usually they stay with you. Not everyone is going to understand your partiality, after a week of hard week, for a good book and a DVD (Table Mountain, pah, who needs it!).

Here is our handy list of activities, aimed at a variety of guests, to get you through even the toughest weekend entertaining visitors in Cape Town… Continued

Monday, 8 June 2015

Festivals To Brighten Winter Around South Africa

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With summer now definitely behind us, we’re headed into the wet and/or icy season of the year. Here are a few events and Festivals across the country to liven the weight of winter… Continued

Thursday, 4 June 2015

8 Charming Karoo Towns For Nature Lovers And Outdoor Enthusiasts

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The Karoo: South Africa’s semi-desert region – a rare mix of desolation, ragged mountains, vast plains, star-studded skies, sheep farms, quirky little towns in the middle of nowhere, and a whole lot of space.

The Karoo spans almost 400 000 km² across the centre of South Africa; an invitation to travel.

Whilst this arid belt was surely a trial for early explorers and travellers for whom the heat, frosts, floods, droughts and little rainfall translated into a harsh existence, today it is road trip country into the back of beyond where windmills, donkey carts, red hills, corbelled houses, a range of small-town historical architecture, and corrugated farm roads envelop one in the essence of the Karoo.

For those who love the great outdoors the Karoo is a playground in which to test your metal, and reconnect with life and stillness. One can commune with nature anywhere in the Karoo, but here is a list of 8 Karoo towns for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, the second in our Karoo series … Continued

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

7 Jaw-Dropping False Bay Tidal Pools For Swims With A View

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For those who ask if it’s safe to swim in Cape Town’s waters, here is a list of, not only the safest spaces in which to swim, but also some of the most beautiful.

Cape Town has various ‘artificial’ tidal pools, as opposed to natural tidal pools (natural sea shore depressions that fill with tidal sea water). These pools exist because of white cement walls that retain the sea water after every high-tide.

When the tide goes out, the sun is able to heat the water, making them wonderful, protected areas in which to swim, for children and adults. Other than St James’ tidal pool many of the pools lie hidden from the coastal road in False Bay, and are not that easy to find. However the views, from each of the pools on our list, are worth seeking out.

Here is the list of 7 jaw-dropping False Bay tidal pools… Continued

Thursday, 28 May 2015

10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals

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If you’ve ever looked at a map of the Karoo (the Groot and Klein Karoo) you may have noticed that it occupies a huge chunk of central South Africa.

It stretches from Alexander Bay on the West Coast, encompassing the bulk of the Northern Cape, all the way to the Free State towns of Smithfield and Cookhouse on the Karoo’s eastern boundaries, whilst its southern borders are dotted with Route 62’s well-known towns from Robertson through to Uniondale.

Its towns read like a list of who’s who of the Platteland – Loeriesfontein, Van Wyksvlei, Prieska, Putsonderwater, Philippolis, Bitterfontein, Koffiefontein and Kuboes.

With so many towns to choose from, just where in the Karoo does one go? In this, the first of a series of blogs on the Karoo, we bring you 10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals... Continued

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

6 Favourite Second Hand Fashion Shops In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town

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There is no accounting for taste, and what one person thinks of as worn and worthless is easily someone else’s treasure. Never more so than in the mother city where second-hand stores flourish. If you are a bargain hunter, or love vintage, Cape Town is full of ‘gently used’, ‘nearly new’ second hand goods’ stores.

The more obvious of these lie in the city bowl (Second Time Around, Glitterati) frequented by those after a more reasonably priced, vintage and retro look. But there are other, less well-known, stores in the southern suburbs.

This list of favourite second hand fashion shops is worth sharing: one or two are charity stores, whilst others are more upmarket ‘barely worn’ stores. Each of them offers something unique. At the very least, you’ll walk out with a scarf or cardigan that you could never have found anywhere else… Continued

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drive the Seven Passes of the Garden Route

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The Cape Fold mountains that rise out of the land like the quills of a porcupine on the Garden Route, unassailable for years by farmers who toiled on farms in the Klein Karoo, are riddled with routes, many of them forged by rivers along which wagons filled with produce battled the mountains to market.

A route known as the 7 Passes explores many of these. Drive or cycle the beautiful old route; a road forged under the guidance of Thomas Bain.

Bain fashioned the road along with his brother-in-law, Adam de Smidt, amidst some acrimony, apparently (Bains started on the Knysna end, whilst de Smidt tackled the George side of things), but this doesn’t seem to have affected its beauty for the exceptional 7 Passes is now a national monument… Continued